Mecanoo unite old and new for Manchester redevelopment

17 October 2019
  • Greg Holmes


United Kingdom

Works continues on new neighbourhood at former university campus

A residential redevelopment designed by Mecanoo is under construction in Manchester, named KAMPUS as a nod to its location at the former Metropolitan University campus. Developed by Capital & Centric and Henry Boot Developments, the project presented an opportunity to create new buildings alongside existing structures, including Victorian brick canal-side warehouses and a 1964 concrete tower.

Two new-build towers, each with 15 storeys, will contain 352 apartments. Mecanoo created differences between the individual building blocks by using variations in height to make each façade stand out. Alternating positions of apertures on the façade reduce the scale of the brick mass. The buildings are horizontally divided into three distinct elements: a podium with dark profiled metal cladding, a mid-section with rough textured red brickwork, and a roofscape characterised by Dutch houses, also clad in profiled metal. The podium anchors the new build and tower elements to a consistent base, while creating a defined edge to the street. A transparent plinth will provide views into a variety of independent bars, cafes, shops and restaurants.

Throughout the design process, Mecanoo sought to celebrate the vibrancy and diversity of the city-centre site with respect to the historic quality of Canal Street. The former university tower is being converted into 123 apartments, with the addition of three stories and a new façade. Adam Higgins, co-founder of Capital & Centric, said: “We’ve kept what we can, even when that’s made things a bit more difficult. Most people assumed we’d demolish the 1960s tower but it’s part of Manchester’s history and we think it adds to KAMPUS’ charm and authenticity. Plus, we actually think it’s a great example of how brutalist architecture can be beautiful. We’ve stripped the building right back to reveal the awesome waffle slab ceilings which will be staying as a striking design feature in the new apartments, bars and restaurants.

Lucy Nordberg
TenderStream Head of Research

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